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What are Reference-Level Headphones?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by idk, Nov 3, 2009.
  1. IDK
    Why do they Usually cost more than regular headphones?

    sorry if its a n00b question[​IMG]
     
  2. Chef
    I googled it once, and never found anything.

    I PRESUME it means that the head-phones are used in a lot of professional settings and therefore what you hear in your head-phones is what the guy who did the mastering of your CD heard.

    That's why Sennheiser's top of the shelf head-phones are 'reference class.' If it doesn't mean that, then it's probably just a marketing buzz word to get you to go 'oooo...'
     
  3. krmathis Contributor
    Some possible reasons as I see it:
    * Lower production numbers (less units)
    * Higher R&D
    * Higher quality parts
    * May be (partly) hand built
    * Produced in other countries
    * Targeted different end users
    * ....
     
  4. logwed
    'Reference-level' is marketing code for 'best headphone that we make.'
     
  5. terriblepaulz
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by logwed /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    'Reference-level' is marketing code for 'best headphone that we make.'



    Bingo - give that head-fi'er a prize.
     
  6. aristos_achaion Contributor
    "Reference-level" are headphones you refer to when explaining to your family why you've declared bankruptcy.
     
    mickey matharu likes this.
  7. JMT391
    Actually, (this could be total misinformation, just something I've heard) a "reference-level" audio system is a system that achieves totally flat frequency response. This means that if you sit there with a dB meter and do a sweep from 20hz-20khz, you will get readings all at the same dB level. Obviously this is near impossible, so readings withing +-1dB are acceptable.

    When I used to read around on DIY car audio forums someone had mentioned this as a tip for EQing a car system.

    Just my 2 cents. Please don't yell at me if I'm wrong [​IMG]

    It does sort of make sense though, because when movie directors make movies, they use reference monitors, which have perfect color accuracy and such (they make DVDs to "EQ" your TV as close to these settings as possible, just like they make test tracks for audio systems).
     
  8. Ashirgo
    Apart from the fact that headphones should never have a flat frequency response (unless you are ready to correct that with an eq. later), I agree.
     
  9. Bilavideo
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by logwed /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    'Reference-level' is marketing code for 'best headphone that we make.'



    That's it!
     
  10. Antony6555
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ashirgo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Apart from the fact that headphones should never have a flat frequency response



    Why?

    Also, I agree that a reference transducer (headphone or speaker) should have a response that is as accurate as possible, ie you can listen to determine if another system is accurate. Though I agree that when audio companies use it, the term typically deteriorates into just another marketing tool.
     
  11. haloxt
    When used to describe headphones the term doesn't seem to mean much, just that they claim to have a certain degree of detail and/or neutrality, or they just recommend using it as reference headphones. The following is the worst use of the term though [​IMG].

    Quote:

    Click on the ones and twos, slap some Cameo on the deck, and blend some old-school beats with the Skullcandy SK Pro DJ Headphones. These full-sized, over-the-ear studio monitor headphones provide the swiveling versatility you need when mixing in ear-shattering club atmospheres, and powerful 50mm drivers for unparalleled reference-quality sound. As a bonus, the SK Pro DJ Headphones come standard with a carrying case, and excess amounts of inimitable Skullcandy steeze.



     
  12. cbax19
    Marketing. Just like "reference monitors" vs. "speakers," it could have meant something suitable for the studio originally, but now is a wonderful tool to help part you and your cash.
     
  13. Ashirgo
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Antony6555 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Why?

    Also, I agree that a reference transducer (headphone or speaker) should have a response that is as accurate as possible, ie you can listen to determine if another system is accurate. Though I agree that when audio companies use it, the term typically deteriorates into just another marketing tool.




    Because of the proximity of the transducers to ears. There is a head related transfer function (HRTF), you might want to look this up. The point is, that when you have reference class speakers that measure perfectly flat with your SPL meter across the spectrum, the same reading taken at your eardrums would deviate by this HRTF (head specific, each man would have at least slightly different measured HRTF). And so, if headphones are to sound like speakers, the designers have to account for this transfer by shaping the freq. response accordingly. The most popular standard is Diffuse Field Equalization, which simulates actually two things missing - the distance between speakers and ears, and the room, not to mention the high frequency roll-off with each meter from speakers...

    In fact, HRTF can work both in frequency (it is what headphones try to accomplish) and in time domain (all that delay, reverb etc.), but the latter is achievable only by sound processing.
     

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